‘Body-at-sea’ news report from Taiwan leaves mariner’s kin in shock
TimesOfIndia, 06 July 2020
Kolkata: Family members of Sambit Majumdar — the 50-year-old marine engineer from Kolkata who went missing from his ship on June 16 — were jolted by a news report from faraway Taiwan.
Sambit’s wife Jayati stumbled upon a news item on the net titled ‘Taiwan Navy finds body at sea with effigy of Hindu monkey god Hanuman’ and clicked on it only to find a photo of her husband’s gold chain locket displayed prominently with the report.
“The Navy found the body of a man drifting off the coast of Taitung County Thursday (July 2) wearing a chain with an effigy of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman…,” read the report published by Taiwan News, the country’s oldest English language news outlet.
She broke down after reading the physical description, “1.80 meters tall… wearing a dark-blue polo shirt with a crocodile logo, a pair of grey shorts, and a pair of black sandals of the Hush Puppies brand”. She recalled that Sambit had bought most of these items before leaving for his assignment on board the oil tanker MT Serengeti in February, which was sailing from Singapore to Desan port in South Korea. “I have no doubts it’s him. The Hanuman locket, the clothes mentioned are all his,” she said. The Majumdar family with help of a friend in Singapore got in touch with a local official in Taiwan who confirmed the news.
TOI got in touch with Taitung County police, which is handling the case after the body was brought to the Chenggong harbor by the Coast Guard. “A body with no ID carrying a locket was found by the Coast Guard. According to the law in Taiwan, the body was handed over to the prosecutor’s office, which sent it to the coroner for identification,” said officer P Ye. He added, “The body being in the water for long has decomposed making identification by physical features impossible. Fingerprints taken were inconclusive. Now, a DNA sample will be taken.”
The Majumdar family said they have informed Sambit’s employers, Dynacom Tankers Management, which has its offices in Ballygunge, about the latest development.
“Capt Aninda Bhattacharya of Dynacom has assured us all help. I request the authorities, especially CM Mamata Banerjee and the ministry of external affairs, to help us in getting the body identified and brought back to Kolkata,” Jayati said.
“Yes we are aware of the developments. We have reached out to govt authorities in India. We have also approached the Indian Coast Guard via India government authorities, who in turn have approached the Taiwan Navy,” said Bhattacharya. He added, “The firm has appointed an agent in Taiwan to take care of local issues, including insurance related matters.”
A relative said they are hoping that the news from Taiwan, though shocking, will bring a closure for Jayati, her son and Sambit’s mother, who were at a loss about how to deal with his disappearance.